Gloria Joy Clay passed from this world to be with her Father on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Gillette, where she was living at the Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center.
She has come full circle as she was born at the Homestake Mine in Wyodak, Wyoming, in 1930, at her grandparent’s home to Charles Gregory and Edna Sandberg.
The doctor did not arrive in time to deliver her as he was at a horse race. This was the beginning of her lifelong connection to horses.
She was later joined by her brother, Charles Jerry Gregory.
Their father was killed in a tragic mine accident in 1937, and the family moved to Gillette. Her mother remarried Arthur “Jingles” Burkhardt.
She spent her youth on a farm on Garner Lake Road south of Gillette. Her brother, Jackie Burkhardt, later joined the family.
She and her siblings attended the Wildflower country school next to the family farm with friends, cousins and the Kawuloks, who lived across the road.
She graduated from Campbell County High School and worked at Probst Shoe and Saddle Shop in Gillette, where she learned to tool leather, which became one of her hobbies. She also was the Gillette Rodeo Queen.
She met her lifetime partner, Perry Clay, when he was working for the University of Wyoming Extension Service in Gillette. Their daughter Riki was born in Gillette. Sons Bill and Jim were born in Cheyenne before they moved to the family ranch in Centennial Valley in 1959.
She was an accomplished horsewoman and had her favorite horse Hobie that she put many miles on moving cattle and working alongside Perry and her children.
She loved everything about ranch life and devoted everything she had to the ranch, spending her summers on a horse or a swather. Most of her friends knew her as a wonderful artist who turned her love for ranch life and horses into a part-time career.
Her amazing talent started as a child when her grandfather, Richard Sandberg encouraged her to paint with him. She spent the rest of her life balancing her art with her ranch life, using her experiences on the ranch as inspiration for her Western art.
She became very recognized for the talented artist she was and her work is found in homes all over the United States. She exhibited mostly in Troys Western Image Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, and local shows. Her passion for art led her to mentor young artists in her life, including her grandchildren.
She was very involved in the 4-H program and her friends in the Albany County Cattlewomen organization. She judged many art shows in Wyoming and judged numerous County and Wyoming State Fairs for many years.
She was very proud to participate in juried art shows and was especially happy to have a bronze sculpture chosen to be in the permanent collection in the Governor’s Mansion in Cheyenne. Creating hand-sculpted Santas was one of her favorite hobbies and they are in homes all over the United States as well.
Her legacy will be in her art and her family, which were the most important things in her long, happy life on the T-K Ranch in her beloved Centennial Valley west of Laramie. As her friends knew, her door was always open and the coffee was on. She loved giving house tours, talking about artwork and her family.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Richard Sandberg and Ida Sandberg; parents, Edna Burkhardt and Charles Gregory; stepfather, Arthur Burkhardt; brother, Jerry Gregory and wife JoAnn of Gillette; father-in-law, Harry Olson; mother-in-law, Wana Clay Olson and husband Perry Clay of Laramie.
Gloria is survived by her brother, Jack (Vickie) of Gillette; children, Riki (Rick) Westbrook of Cody, Bill (Amy) Clay of Saratoga and Jim (Maggie) Clay of Laramie; grandchildren, Stoni (Jak) Hollinger, Toby (Kaycee) Westbrook, Ashli Westbrook, Cassidy (Shanna) Westbrook, Brandon (Debbie) Clay, Keesha Clay, Mandi (Beau) Schulz, Trampis Clay and Brogan Clay; great-grandchildren, Payton, Hailey, Attie Jo, Raegan, Harper, Emiliegh, Hadlee, Hayden, Hudsen, Colby, Alex, Brock and Cora; and her last best friend and companion, Skeeter.
A Celebration of Life on the family ranch begins at 2 p.m. Sept. 28, and as Gloria would say to you when she couldn’t be with you, “consider yourself hugged.”
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations be made to the Albany County Cattlewomen, P.O. Box 582, Laramie WY 82073.
This paid obituary was provided by family and friends.